Former Cardinals reliever joins Wong for third annual Cornhole Challenge charity event
By Nick Krueger
ST. LOUIS -- Reliever Jason Motte, a member of the Colorado Rockies after signing a two-year, $10 million contract last offseason, may be two years removed from wearing the birds on the bat across his chest, but he still keeps St. Louis close to his heart.
Motte teamed up with current Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong to hold his third annual Cornhole Challenge on Monday night inside Ballpark Village, with proceeds benefiting Cardinals Care and The Jason Motte Foundation.
"When we started this event three years ago, this community showed up in full force," Motte said. "We're really glad we're able to do this here and give back to the community which gave us so much."
The foundation works to support cancer research and those suffering from the disease. Since it began in 2012, shortly after the grandfather of Motte's wife, Caitlin, passed away, the charity has impacted the lives of many youth and adults in the St. Louis area and beyond.
"I was here for six-plus years," Motte said. "We won a World Series in 2011, so I think no matter where I go, I'll have a big connection to St. Louis regardless."
The past two years, the Cornhole Challenge combined to raise over $225,000. Last year's event was held at Chaifetz Arena when Motte and the rival Chicago Cubs were in town at the end of June.
This year's event included 112 cornhole teams participating in the tournament, as well as a live and silent auction.
"It kind of got bigger than we thought," Motte said. "But that's a good thing, because that means we're reaching more people and helping more people, and at the end of the day, that's what it's all about."
Motte approached Wong to join forces for the event in the offseason after Jon Jay, Motte's partner in the event last year, was traded to San Diego. Wong didn't hesitate, given that his family was touched by cancer in 2013, when his mother passed away from the disease.
"He [Motte] was here and helped me get through the cancer situation with my mom," Wong said. "He was super inspirational to me, helping me through everything with any questions I had [and] was more than happy to answer them."
Randal Grichuk, Matt Adams and Matt Holliday were among the Cardinals who came out to support Motte and Wong in their cause. Rockies general Jeff Bridich, manager Walt Weiss and several Colorado players also attended the charity event.
Despite the changes in uniform, Motte is determined to keep the event going in St. Louis, and he hopes to start a similar event in Denver. He wears wristbands on his arms to remind him of the children his foundation has helped.
"They remind me that baseball is baseball, but [that] there are things bigger than that," Motte said.
The Rockies start a three-game series at Busch Stadium on Tuesday, with the foundation teaming up with the Cardinals to present Strike Out Cancer Night on Wednesday. A portion of Wednesday night's ticket sales will benefit Motte's foundation when purchased through www.cardinals.com/kcancer, with promo code KCANCER16.
Nick Krueger is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.